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The Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments - GAATES ( in collaboration with the Zero Project( is looking for innovative practices and policies that relate to Emergency Preparedness and Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction (DiDRR).


These practices and policies will be presented at the 2015 Zero Project Conference in Vienna, Austria alongside practices and policies pertaining to the Zero Project's own streams on Independent Living and Political Participation.


We welcome you to download the Disaster Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction (DiDRR) nomination and instruction documents from the GAATES website at You can also download these forms, as well as the Zero Project nomination and instruction forms related to the Independent Living and Political Participation streams


Who can nominate a practice or policy?

Everyone can nominate a practice or a policy, including experts from the academic, public, private, and non-profit sector. Self-nominations are possible as well. Please note, however, that laws, regulations or public policies cannot be nominated by the responsible government, parliament, or administration.


What is the  Zero Project?

The Zero Project - For a World Without Barriers (, officially launched in 2011 by the Essl Foundation (, advocates the rights of persons with disabilities internationally. With its global outreach, the Zero Project monitors the national implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and highlights innovative practices and policies. The project is organised in partnership with the World Future Council ( and the European Foundation Centre (


The vision of the Zero Project is to work for a world without barriers, according to the principles and Articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). It does so by researching Innovative Practices and Innovative Polices worldwide that help to improve the lives of persons with disabilities, as well as researching social indicators that measure the implementation of the UN CRPD and the current situation in all countries of the world.


What is GAATES?

The Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES) is the leading international not-for-profit organization that brings together individuals and organizations dedicated to promoting accessibility of electronic and communication technologies and accessibility of the built environment. GAATES' mission is to promote the understanding and implementation of accessibility of the sustainable built, social and virtual environments, including architectural, infrastructural design, transportation systems, habitat, and electronic information and communication technologies so that everyone, including people with disabilities and older persons are able to fully participate and contribute to society.


While recognizing the collaborative partnership of the Zero Project, GAATES is fully responsible for the DiDRR stream, including the preparation and distribution of the nomination form, the review and research of the nominations, and the development and presentation of the results report. GAATES will be using the Zero Project processes, evaluation system, reporting protocols and communication tools.


Please Distribute this email to your Colleagues and Associates in the DiDRR and Emergency Preparedness fields.

Marnie Peters
GAATES Executive Officer

Online Survey

We have made a customer survey to gather visitors' views about the accessibility of tourism services and find out where improvements may be needed.

The survey has just 14 questions and will probably take you less than 10 minutes to complete.

Data collected in this survey will be treated anonymously and we do not ask for any information which can identify individual persons. We will not identify individual businesses that may be mentioned in answers, unless we have their permission, in advance, to do so.

If you live and travel in one of the European Union Member States or have visited an EU country in the last two years (that is, since June 2011), we would like to hear about yourexperiences and impressions of accessible tourism services in Europe.

Follow this direct link to the online Accessible Tourism Suppliers' Survey:
(You will need to copy it exactly like this, as once you put it in the browser the URL changes).

You may forward this email to any friends, family members or consumer / advocacy associations who may be interested, so they may also fill in the survey form.

The survey is open until 30 September 2013 but we would like to analyse the "first wave" of results already in August, so please answer early if you can.

The results of the survey will be published online and disseminated at a European seminar hosted by the European Commission, scheduled for early 2014.    

(A parallel study will take an in-depth look at the economics and market demand for accessible tourism, with a more detailed questionnaire survey). 

If you are a tourism supplier in Europe or serving Europe-inbound markets, please answer the Suppliers' Survey!

How can we plan, construct and maintain our streets, green areas and yards for accessibility? Practical guidelines were established in 2004 through cooperation involving the cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Joensuu, Tampere, Turku and Vantaa. Working instructions were completed under the leadership of the Helsinki for All Project with the support of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

The guidelines form the basis for the City of Helsinki Accessibility Plan. They are also freely available for use by other municipalities, corporations and planners. The guidelines contain criteria for evaluating the accessibility of outdoor locations and instruction cards for applying them.

Criteria for accessibility and the instruction cards (SuRaKu)

SuRaKu Instruction Cards:

  • 1 Pedestrian crossings and pavements (pdf) (doc)
  • 2 Pedestrian streets and squares (pdf) (doc)
  • 3 Differences in elevation (pdf) (doc)
  • 4 Public courtyards (pdf) (doc)
  • 5 Park paths and resting places (pdf) (doc)
  • 6 Public playgrounds (pdf) (doc)
  • 7 Public bus stop areas (pdf) (doc)
  • 8 Temporary traffic arrangements (pdf) (doc)

SuRaKu Accessibility Criteria:

  • 1 Kerbstones at pedestrian crossings (pdf)
  • 2 Outdoor staircases (pdf)
  • 3 Ramps (pdf)
  • 4 Guidance paving flags (pdf)
  • 5 Demarcation strips (pdf)
  • 6 Loading islands (pdf)
  • 7 Gutters and gullies (pdf)
  • 8 Walking surfaces (pdf)
  • 9 Pedestrian crossing markings (pdf)
  • 10 Handrails (pdf)
  • 11 Railings (pdf)
  • 12 Pedestrian push-buttons posts (pdf)
  • 13 Pedestrian crossing signs (pdf)
  • 14 Seating (pdf)
  • 15 Bollards in pedestrian zones (pdf)
  • 16 Pedestrian refuge islands (pdf)
  • 17 Tactile maps and information signboards (pdf)
  • 18 Warning areas (pdf)
  • Criteriatabels 1-18 (doc)

Mapping and evaluation guide for accessibility of outdoor locations (pdf, 8.7 Mb), guide cover (pdf, 547 Kb). The illustrated guide explains about pedestrian accessibility. It is suitable both as a check list and as study material (in Finnish).

SuRaKu stands for planning, constructing and maintaining. In Finnish that is suunnitella, rakentaa and kunnostaa.

The Accessibility symbol website is an accessibility databank, featuring a collection of relevant pictograms and general information on accessibility signeage.

The databank is based on the 'Accessibility symbol project' conducted by the 'Helsinki for All' project and interest groups in 2010-2011. The purpose of this project was to compile and design pictograms indicating accessible functions and general public services that need to be accessible and clearly signposted.

The databank includes symbols designed and drawn in the course of the project as well as existing accessibility symbols already in use. In many cases, the new symbols are based on existing ones. The symbols designed in the course of the project form a coherent series that can be deployed on service maps, indoor signs, outdoor signs and online publicity. The symbols were designed by Kokoro & Moi Oy.

In addition to accessibility symbols, there are many general service symbols in the databank. There are also pointers to standards and design directives featuring pictograms.

The pictograms in the databank are divided into the following categories:

The databank now has its first collection of pictograms, and it will be added to from time to time.

Note that not all of the symbols in the databank are free for use; there are standard and official symbols for whose use a separate permit must be obtained. Information on whom to contact regarding the use and availability of these symbols is included in the databank. All of the symbols developed in the 'Accessibility symbol project' may be used freely for non-commercial purposes. You can find all those symbols here.

The symbols developed in the project may be downloaded in JPEG format and AI (vector graphics) format. Some of the symbols compiled from other databanks are available in EPS format in addition to JPEG.



A statement from United Spinal Association on the failure of US Republican Senators to uphold the ADA on an international level:

United Spinal Association is extremely disappointed that the Senate failed today by a vote of 61-38 to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

"Opposition to ratification of the treaty is based on several extreme assertions by the far right, including that ratifying the CRPD would endanger U.S. sovereignty and that parents would lose their ability to make decisions for their children with disabilities. These assertions are absolutely false," said Paul J. Tobin, United Spinal CEO and President.

The CRPD embodies the protections and opportunities available through the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), but on a global scale. CRPD is a treaty created by the United Nations that protects the rights of people living with disabilities, including: equal treatment and non-discrimination in access to justice, health, education, employment, and rehabilitation.

Ratification of the CRPD treaty is supported by over 300 disability organizations, 21 veterans organizations, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and many other national leaders and organizations.

      • CRPD would have improved access for disabled veterans and other Americans with disabilities that live, work, or travel abroad.
      • The treaty is critical to maintaining America's leadership role on disability rights and to eliminating disability discrimination throughout the world.
      • Ratification of the CRPD treaty would present the opportunity for a reaffirmation of the values inherent in the Americans with Disabilities Act and provide the forum to advance them worldwide.

Failure of the Senate to ratify the CRPD only strengthens our resolve to dispel the myths offered by the opposition and secure ratification of the CRPD in the next session of Congress. We thank those Senators who voted in favor of the CRPD for their support of rights for disabled veterans, and all people with disabilities.

Read more:

Interdependence is the core fact about reality. Acknowledgement of it is required to thrive with a disability.

Redentor e Liberdade.jpg
So much of society masks how we depend on each other - those around us an those who went before us. That legacy accumulates into what we take for granted as infrastructure.

Disability unmasks the mean-spirited actors in a society where Universal Design is rejected as the only responsible criteria for allocating public resources. Since Katrina and then the earthquake in Haiti disability activists have relentlessly developed and disseminated protocols for disability-aware disaster relief. Thankfully, Hurricane Sandy does not seem to be disproportionately hard on people with disabilities.

What it has done is reminded the general public of the reality of interdependence. We all have limits:

Hurricane Sandy did not just erode beachfronts; it also eroded partisan political differences. How else can one explain Gov. Christie's warm and gracious comments about Obama after the president did far more than what was required when he suggested that the New Jersey Republican personally call him if he needed any help with federal agencies.

Disasters never go away. They become part of our culture, providing stories of danger and heroism that we share with our children and their children. Disasters take neighbors and make them friends.

New Yorkers, widely considered to be tough and selfish, are suddenly eager to share cellphones, drink beer with strangers at their local bars, and to cook meals at home -- since without subways there is no way to go out for dinner and get home easily.

There is one simple lesson we can learn from Hurricane Sandy: We cannot ignore the essential infrastructure that moves people, information and goods.



© Clark Realty CapitalThe U.S. Army, a Virginia realty firm and architect Michael Graves have joined forces to create a new kind of accessible home for injured veterans.


The Wounded Warrior Home Project is building homes for wounded soldiers who stay in the service at Fort Belvoir, Va. But before embarking on the project, the partners decided to take a new look at what accessible means.


They started with universal design principles and then took them a step further to design a home that was convenient for people with varied disabilities as well as their able-bodied family members.


SideStix is excited to announce that it has been awarded not one, but two awards at this year's MS Society da Vinci Awards Ceremony. The Awards recognize SideStix Forearm Crutches as being a leader in innovation in adaptive mobility and transportation technology.

With the help of you, our loyal fans, we were able to bring in enough YouTube video votes to beat out seventeen competitors. This included entries from both GMC and MIT. The winner of the Leo (People's Choice) Award is based solely on fan votes, making us this year's winner by a large margin. Below is Sarah and Kerith's acceptance speech which was shown live at the award ceremonies.

If winning the Da Vinci Leo Award wasn't exciting enough, SideStix also had the honour of receiving a da Vinci Award in the Transportation and Mobility category. An impartial panel of expert judges representing the technology and disability communities selected the finalists and da Vinci Award winners in each category. Below is the video played at the ceremony of Sarah and Kerith with our video's film maker, Veronica Alice, accepting the award.

We want to thank our fans and user's most of all for the support which allowed us to take home the Leo Award. We would also like to thank the disability community for recognizing the worth of our innovations. Finally, we would like to again thank the MS Society of Michigan for holding the da Vinci Awards to recognize innovation in areas which truly improve the quality of life for people living with disability.

Keep your eyes and ears open for more news from SideStix Ventures. With your continued support we are moving closer to our goal of providing the best forearm crutches allowing our users to remain comfortable, active and healthy!


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Apesar do Workshop utilizar o lazer e turismo como um cenário, os ensinamentos passados podem ser aplicados em qualquer área de nossa sociedade. É um workshop diferenciado, porque além de tratar da parte física e arquitetônica, também mostra o lado do atendimento e hospitalidade, aos diferentes tipos de deficiência, numa abordagem completa e de qualidade. Será fornecido uma apostila para um melhor acompanhamento da aula, além de um livro digital com inúmeros materiais para servirem de apoio para um aprofundamento muito maior nos assuntos abordados.
O Workshop irá acontecer na mesma época da Reatech - Tecnologias em Reabilitação, Inclusão e Acessibilidade, a maior feira internacional do segmento na América do Sul. Assim os alunos poderão conhecer as novidades do mercado, tendências além de estar em contato direto com pessoas com deficiência de diversas partes do Brasil. Então este curso vem surgir com uma proposta inédita no Brasil, feito por profissionais gabaritados, com uma abordagem da melhor qualidade. Será uma oportunidade única de realizar troca de contatos e experiências com pessoas e profissionais das mais diversas áreas.  
Local do Curso: Top Tower Offices - Rua Vergueiro, 1.421 - 12° andar - Bairro Paraíso - São Paulo/SP (à 50m da estação Paraiso do Metrô)
Data: 15 e 16 de abril de 2011
Horário: 9h00 às 18h00
Estudantes: R$380,00
Profissionais: R$450,00
Obs.: Pagamento efetuado até dia 15/03 tem R$30,00 de desconto para estudante ou profissional
Itens inclusos: Coffe-break e material didático
Inscrição e informações: ou tel.: (11)2225-1421
Mais informações, clique no link a seguir

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Inclusion in Travel at

Peter Greenburg Worldwide Travel has several articles on travel with a disability. The latest is on travel in the Gulf Coast region:

Gulf Coast Accessible TravelThe Gulf Coast is a favorite destination for families, but finding a wheelchair-accessible beach retreat can be a challenge. 

Barbara & Jim Twardowski, RN, share their tips on finding accessible accommodations and experiences.

Row after row of condominiums line the Gulf Coast. Most of the units are owned by individuals and few are configured to meet the needs of someone who uses a wheelchair. Unlike a hotel, homes do not fall under the accessibility guidelines mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Condos, B&Bs and private homes can be good alternatives to a hotel--just be prepared to do some investigating prior to confirming a reservation.

Read the whole article:

Other articles at

Via DPI:

Apr 14 2010 5:05PM 
The United Nations committee on the rights of people with disabilities today urged the Chilean Government and the international community to include needs of the handicapped in the reconstruction plans of areas affected by the earthquake that jolted the country in February. As a matter of priority, reconstruction plans should take into consideration access to physical space, information, communications, transportation, products and services, the Committee on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities said in a statement issued in Geneva.
 "Reconstruction in the areas affected by the devastating February earthquake and tsunami must also become a reality for the disabled," said the current committee's chairperson, Ronald McCallum. "A recent survey shows that an estimated 12.9 per cent of the Chilean population has disabilities, and many in the affected areas were persons with various forms of disabilities," he added. In a recent statement, the 12-member committee also recommended that relief measures take into account the special needs of persons with different forms of disabilities, in particular, in warning procedures, evacuation, information and communications. 
 "Equal attention shall be given to sign language and video captioning of public information regarding the emergency situation in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities," it said. 
 The committee stressed the urgent need to provide services to the disabled, including post-traumatic stress care. It called for "special support in rebuilding their homes, whether in urban or rural areas and those sites that host associations of persons with disabilities and centres that serve them, which have been destroyed or damaged." It said it recognized the efforts of the Chilean Government in the earthquake emergency, but urged the country to "take all necessary measures to ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities in situations of risk, including situations of armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and the occurrence of natural disasters." The committee is made up of independent experts who monitor the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which so far has been endorsed by 140 countries, including Chile. 
The Convention was adopted in December 2006 by the General Assembly, and entered into force in May 2008. 
 The 8.8-magnitude quake on 27 February claimed the lives of more than 480 people and triggered a tsunami that devastated several coastal towns in south-central Chile.

Introduce Unversal Design thinking a your local pechaha:



Some cities have already events planned before or after the 20th that cannot be moved. Some cities are having problems finding locations, but we hope these cities will still link up for a short "hello!" as the PechaKucha WAVE goes around the world. They might hold a small party while watching the live stream and getting ready for their few minutes of fame on the WAVE! Please support them, and perhaps help them find locations - these events might turn into mini or even full blown PechaKucha's. You have two weeks left. That is plenty of time. We have gotten this far in two weeks - organizing an event should be easy :-) 


As we go around the world we are very keen to find presenters with experience and ideas that relate to the many issues facing Haiti. Help us find people in your city with expertise and experience that might help the reconstruction efforts. 

In New York Zach Lieberman and the Free Art and Technology (FAT) unit will present their brilliant EyeWriter project. This may find use in Haiti as we begin to understand the number of amputations and crush injuries that have left people are unable to write with their hands

In Stockholm, 28-year-old Brazilian architect Filipe Balestre, having worked with Rem Koolhaas but now living in Sweden, is deeply involved in social projects will be presenting about participatory architecture in Rio de Janeiro and India. You get the idea! With over 2000 presentations being made and recorded on or around the 20th we are going to have one amazing database of information to refer to and build on!


News from Whirlwind Wheelchairs

PBS NewsHour to cover Whirlwind's Efforts in Haiti
Whirlwind's campaign to provide our RoughRider wheelchair in Haiti will be covered by the PBS Newshour tonight (or tomorrow).  Check your showtime here:
The piece will focus on how Whirlwind and our partner
on the ground, Handicap International, will help newly disabled Haitians regain their mobility as they begin to rebuild their communities. Here are some behind-the-scene shots:

Filming the RoughRider in Action

And Coverage of our SFSU Class

Other Media Coverage

The PBS NewsHour story will not be Whirlwind's first media coverage of wheelchairs for Haiti. Ralf made an apparence on the local CBS 5 news last week. To see the news segment click here. Marc, our Executive Director, also taped a short radio segment for KCBS. To listen click here
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The New PwD Community in Haiti

Ralf Hotchkiss is founder and Chief Engineer at Whirlwind Wheelchair. Ralf is speaking about Whirlwind's efforts to assist newly disabled Haitians after the earthquake in January 2010. T

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As I look at the Concept Note describing our upcoming seminar on Inclusive Tourism in Mozambique and read comments on Haiti's tourism I see parallels -- and opportunities:

Topography map of Hispaniola.

Image via Wikipedia

Haiti was getting ready to capitalise on its sunny weather and tropical scenery to attract tourist to that impoverished island nation when the magnitude-7.0 earthquake rocked the French-speaking country, killing an estimated 200,000 and leaving millions homeless.

New hotels, new attention from international investors and buzz among travellers who have visited in recent years seem to signal a renewed interest in Haiti as a destination. Just two hours away by plane from Miami, Florida, the country had one of the strongest tourist industries in the Caribbean in the 1950s and '60s, according to Americas, the magazine of the Organisation of American States.

However, things began to change with the deterioration of the political climate.

Meanwhile, the Dominican Republic, Haiti's neighbour on the island of Hispaniola, welcomed almost four million people in 2008, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organisation.

Talk of "re-inventing Haiti" has even gone at far as UNWTO. Carlos Vogeler, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation's (UNWTO's) regional representative for the Americas recently commented:

Tourism can be one of the vehicles which can help Haiti to not go back to where they were because they were not in very good shape, but to go to a much better condition than the one they had before.

Note this article on from before the earthquake, "Can Haiti be Brought Back into The World Tourism Circuit?"

In light of the recent disaster and world mobilization to rebuild the country I would say that the answer is, "Yes, if Inclusive Destination development is practiced."

I recommend that Haitian delegates attend the March 1-3 World Bank funded conference in Maputo on tourism, development, and disability. There we can transfer some relevant knowledge to Haiti through these delegates and plan a more tailored event for the country and for relief and reconstruction entities there.

Listen to Haiti's Tourism Minister Patrick Delatour and get a picture of the situation at:
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